"Mission Impossible: Fallout" shows audiences a new look to the "Mission Impossible" sequels. (Illustration by Kayla Rader, Savannah College of Art and Design)

‘Mission Impossible: Fallout’ Is the Deepest ‘Mission Impossible’ Yet

In a welcome improvement on its predecessors, the new film delves intriguingly into its characters’ psyches.

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In a welcome improvement on its predecessors, the new film delves intriguingly into its characters’ psyches.

Intense martial-art fight scenes, helicopter crashes and leaps across roofs pervade all of “Mission Impossible: Fallout,” suggesting that the film is just another installment of the beloved films. Despite all the classic sequels, critics have raved about “Mission Impossible: Fallout” as one of the best “Mission Impossible” flicks of all time.

So, what makes it so special?

In many ways, “Mission Impossible: Fallout” is the same. The story consists of a battle against the terrorist Solomon Lane and his reforming criminal group along with the same failures and redrawing up of plans.

It continues the juggling for Ethan Hunt, Tom Cruise’s character, between the women he has loved who still look out for him and his unwavering desire to make the world a better place through his talents. It even includes token characters, such as Benji and Luther, played by Simon Pegg and Ving Rhames.

Even so, the familiarity of “Mission Impossible: Fallout” feels different. From reading a synopsis, the story is just a run-of-the-mill spy-fight against an international terrorist. But if anything, audiences will welcome the familiarity of these patterns from past installments. This may be in part because for so long the franchise has seemed to boast infinite possibilities, in terms of new stunts and plot details, making the familiarity charming and even useful for keeping up amidst innovations.

“Mission Impossible: Fallout” has made sure to keep some of the most classic characters as well as new. (Image via Geek Tyrant)

However, Cruise’s latest movie also pushes the comfort of seeing familiar faces and the narrative takes into a new sphere and tone with an increase in the intensity of each character’s roles in the film.

For example, Pegg’s character, Benji, isn’t just a minor character who skeptically assists with the computer skills needed for the mission, but now plays a huge role in the success of each step of the incredible vision that unfolds in this movie. Benji is daring and clever and soon finds himself right in the middle of the danger, many times willingly. The hero that arises out of Benji will have any super fans of Pegg, like myself, loving his role in the latest explosion — quite literally — of action and suspense.

And along with the lineup of familiar faces comes new ones who have truly inserted themselves into the “Mission Impossible” tradition gracefully. The most notable character is Henry Cavill’s role as August Walker, a CIA agent on the scene to assist Ethan Hunt. Audiences are likely used to seeing Cavill as the good guy (he is Superman after all.)

While I won’t spoil any details for you, I will say that, from the very beginning of “Mission Impossible: Fallout,” you’ll observe Cavill conducting himself in a way that immediately hints that he may not be all-in for Ethan’s cause.

He’s over-confident, oafish and even sassy, which not only aggravates the other characters involved in the mission, but leads to questions about his true allegiance. This tension plays out in an incredible scene at the beginning of the film with Tom Cruise and Henry Cavill’s characters skydiving in the middle of a lightning storm and Ethan Hunt saving the very man who might come to turn on him in the end. If for nothing else, the movie is worth seeing just for that scene and the fight in a men’s bathroom at a rave that follows right after it.

While the reactions and reviews of this film are overwhelmingly positive, some critics might argue that the newest film feats is too predictable. Yes, there are many plot twists, but at times these twists seem less like surprises and more like expected results from overly emphasized details, like August Walker slipping the CIA a criminal’s phone that audiences know had a shattered screen, but seems to be completely fixed now.

With so many hints like these, you might wonder, “Why aren’t more people criticizing these elements for making the movie just a little predictable? “

Tom Cruise and Henry Cavill’s characters face a strong undertone of competition in “Mission Impossible: Fallout.” (Image via Awards Circuit)

The truth is, these hints operate within a context of a larger story that audiences still won’t be able to predict. The film is even more enjoyable because of the continued element of predictability since it keeps the audience in the loop but still manages to throw them in the end.

For those who will only focus on various characters’ motives and true personalities, the film might fall flat. But for most, the true focus and enjoyment of the film comes from the question of whether Ethan Hunt can keep it all together and live to the end of his mission.

It’s ironic, because this point of suspense is likely the detail that has not changed at all across the history of the “Mission Impossible” films. But, the writing and stunts in “Mission Impossible: Fallout” still leave audiences wondering how the world can be saved once again from the evils of terrorists and criminals, and more than satisfied when everything still manages to work out.

Arguing what the best part of this film is could be a conversation that goes on for weeks. But in the end, one of the most enjoyable elements of the film is the acknowledgement of failure and how to cope and move on with the mission.

In some moments, it seems like Ethan Hunt has completely failed, which usually either leads to the revelation of a backup plan to save him, or thinking on-the-spot to save his butt from the enemies closing in on him. Either way, the action-packed film accomplishes a level of meaningfulness by showing audiences that facing tasks that seem “impossible” don’t have to always involve terrorists, but planning and good thinking can go a long way in righting the world once again.

When faced with the question of whether he will be able to complete his task or not, Ethan Hunt reiterates the same phrase, “I’ll figure it out when I get there, I’ll get it done.” You may have thought that making an innovative “Mission Impossible” movie was impossible, but take it from one action-fan to another: They get it done.

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Kiersten Lynch

Seton Hall University

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